Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not a good showing by me

Played a double of Axis & Allies Miniatures today at the local game shop and got schooled a bit.

We were playing the "Ridge Too Far" scenario from the Axis & Allies Extended rules.

As has been my custom, I modified the printed scenario slightly in order to account for units that have become available since the scenario was printed. In this case the changes were quite minor. I substituted the now-available MG 34 for the scenario's MG-42 because the scenario is set in July 1941, before the service date for the MG-42. In order to balance off the 2-point reduction in the German force's point total I substituted two Soviet Conscript infantry for two of the Moison-Nagants in the printed scenario.

The only other change was purely cosmetic, I proxied a regular Panzer IVD model for the Elite Pz IVD in the scenario while using the older version's stat card.

The map was No. 7 of the larger 3-inch sized series. The main features were five hexes of hills running from north to south just West of the middle of the map. A village was just east of that and a 4-hex patch of woods was northeast of the village. A small pond and some other trees rounded out the terrain. The five hill hexes were the objectives to be held by Turn 6. The Soviet force could set up on the hills, but any units that did so were disrupted. The rest of the Soviets set up within five hexes of the east edge, which meant they could just reach the village. The Germans could start with two infiltrators in the 4-hex patch of wood to the northeast of the town, while the rest of the German task force entered from the west ion Turn 1.

The Soviet force comprised one T-34/76 (real nasty in 1941!) a BT-7, a Commissar, a sniper, an ATR, an SMG squad, a grenadier squad, three Moison-Nagant squads and two conscript squads.

The attacking German force was one SS leader, an SS stormtrooper squad, three Kar 98 squads, one light mortar, one MG-43 team, one elite Pz IV tank and two Pz IIID tanks.

I took the Germans first. I put the MG-34 and the light mortar in the woods where they didn't accomplish much. The MG team was able to disprupt the BT-7 a couple of times but the light mortar died right off. I tired a frontal attack on the 3-hex ridge, whcih the Soviets had kinldy filed with troops (to be disrupted) with a supporting effort through some woods on the north side with the rest of the German foot troops. The Soviets took heavy losses, but the darn ATR got a lucky shot and damaged the elite Pz IV! I compounded the error by pushing one of the Pz III too aggressively onto the ridge where it was close assaulted to death by Soviet infantry.

By Turn 5 the Gernan attack was wrecked, with all three tanks and the majority of the foot troops gone. While the Soviets had taken some serious losses among their infantry, they still had both tanks undamaged and we called the game on account of hopelessness.

On the flip side I did better. I used the "Overwatch" rule for the first time extensively and the threat from the T-34, in particular, really constricted German movement over the first half of the game. The Germans were, however, able to pincer the two Soviet units holding the northern two hillocks (grenadier and SMG) between the MG 34 team and the SS stormtrooper from the woods and the German main body from the west.

My dice were cold in both games, but in the first game I made enough mistakes that I couldn't fairly blame the dice. In the second game, however, the Soviet shooting was abysmal, with multiple fusillades of fire unable to gun down exposed German infantry in the open and missing a Pz III in the open as well. Only the overwhelming firepower of the T-34 was able to score a kill on one Pz III. Gemran return fire was able to disrupt and damage both Soviet tanks eventually, despite being in cover and the Germans edged to a win, with control of two hills compared to control of one for the Soviets.

Overall a disappointing outing because I didn't feel like I put forth my best efforts, especially in the first game. It does appear to be a well-balanced and fair scenario.

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